Tender/Tinder

Lindsey Ann McGhee, University of Colorado at Boulder

Abstract

Trauma is a thing that splits one into many pieces, which may never be reassembled or made whole again. Tender/Tinder is a collection of autobiographical poems and micro-essays that simultaneously grieves and embraces the hard truths about change. The author’s memories of Louisiana pre-hurricane Katrina haunt her throughout her everyday life, shape her current relationships and location, as well as recalling a troubling, familial history of Cajun assimilation enacted through the school system in the wake of the Red Scare.

Location and environment define the heart of Tender/Tinder. Displacement and dislocation in this text are the result and reenactment of trauma, of survival, broken relationships, and the struggle to live in one’s own skin. Land is a thing to stand on, a thing to love on, a thing to exist on, but the narrator never quite finds her footing. Tender/Tinder is a reckoning, a confrontation with everyday displacement in the aftermath of lifelong trauma for which there may never be any reconciliation.